Archive for category: Staff Highlights
Staff Highlights – Roshini Ramachandran/in Staff Highlights /by michelle chen
Taking a risk to move across the world from Chennai, India, where she earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees, Roshini Ramachandran came to the United States to earn her PhD at the University of Georgia. She is atrained Chemist who has always been interested in teaching, training and active-learning. Undoubtedly these passions started early in life from the guidance of her mother. “My mom taught me what active learning is when she didn’t know that term.” When she was younger, her mother’s actions showed her that she could connect with and experience the things she was learning about with little effort. Another inspiring thing to note about her mother is that her career path was not linear. She experienced success in diverse fields like Zoology, Teaching, and Journalism. This example taught Roshini that she could do anything she chooses.
Roshini originally came to UCLA for a teacher/scholar research program to study nanoparticle chemistry. She has since gained impressive rapport with her students, who overwhelmingly appreciate her teaching style and insight. One student commented, “(Roshini) is always prepared and knows exactly what she is talking about. Her discussions really challenge you to think and have helped me grow both in my teaching abilities and in science.” And another agrees, “Professor Ramachandran genuinely cares about her students (multiple office hours, one-on-one appointments, feedback/evaluation surveys) and has multiple resources (LA worksheets, practice tests) to help her students succeed.”
It was here at UCLA that she met Alex Spokoyny, her (favorite) research mentor who has been very encouraging and supportive in navigating her own career path. This path has led her to be hired at the Center for the Advancement of Teaching as Academic Administrator for the Assessment of GE FSI Program. The acronym GE FSI refers to the General Education courses that are part of the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry.
For her first task, Roshini was looking at GE FSI specific courses to see if students are getting the skills they need and completing course objectives and desired program outcomes. “It is my first time taking on a project of this magnitude,” but she is excited, and especially glad to be working on it with both Adrienne Lavine and Marc Levis-Fitzgerald. This project was on such a large scale of data collection that it also enlisted the help of other CAT Department volunteers to go to the classrooms directly and encourage and instruct students on how to complete the survey. With these efforts Roshini was able to exceed her expectations of projected response rates and draw her conclusions of the effectiveness of the GE FSI courses from a rich data pool.
To learn more about Roshini, and her leadership, teaching, and research, please also feel free to visit her personal website: https://roshiniramachandran.wordpress.com. She is a valuable member of the CAT Team who we expect to see more brilliant insight from in the future.
Staff Highlights – CCLE’s Daniel Tran/in CCLE, Staff Highlights /by michelle chen
For over 25 years, Daniel Tran has operated both in front of and behind the scenes to manage and deliver some of UCLA’s most critical services. Behind that IT curtain you will find not only a very accomplished IT professional, but also a fascinating and very accomplished person in areas outside his profession. He will never tell you this himself, but Daniel Tran is doing some amazing things at UCLA and in his life!
So who is that masked man behind the CCLE Home technology curtain? For starters, Daniel is someone who has arguably had the greatest impact of a single individual on the core mission of undergraduate teaching and learning at UCLA since CCLE went into full production ten years ago. Why? As CCLE Home’s Systems Engineer, Daniel makes sure CCLE runs 24/7/365 by monitoring, maintaining, fixing, updating, and equipping the servers and their systems, the CCLE application, and all the integration points CCLE has with single sign on, registrar data, MyUCLA Gradebook, and third-party services like TurnitIn and Kaltura, to name a few. Anyone in IT will tell you that systems engineers work long, sometimes unpredictable hours, to reliably deliver the services UCLA students and instructors rely on at all hours of the day.
With that kind of always on-call work demand, you might expect Daniel to enjoy low-output pursuits in his personal life. And yes, Daniel does enjoy restoring old electron tube audio equipment and working on analog circuits.
But 24/7/365 systems upkeep doesn’t stop Daniel Tran from some amazing high-output pursuits, most notably endurance cycling, where you ride long distance over a day or multiple days. Distances can be “double century” (200 miles in a day within a certain time limit) or literally crisscrossing various countrysides on routes of 600km, 1000km, or even 1200km. Daniel’s proudest achievement is completing the prestigious Paris-Brest-Paris “randonneur,” a route of 1200 km (746 miles) that he completed in just under 80 hours. He’s also been inducted into the California Triple Crown Hall of Fame for having completed 50+ double centuries.
“I love cycling since my college days,” says Daniel. “I didn’t have a car back then so the bicycle was my only mode of transportation and I fell in love with it. I got back into cycling 6-7 years ago because I have more free time and I also wanted to change to a more healthy lifestyle.”
Some of Daniel’s favorite rides were to the top of Mt. Haleakala, rising 36 miles from sea level to 10000 feet on Maui’s highest point, and in the French Alps along iconic Tour de France routes.
Typically, Daniel rides about 200 miles/week, but during the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s been cut in half. Not able to travel or participate in in-person cycling events, Daniel has turned to Virtual Double Centuries, completing three of them in the past three months either on a smart trainer or riding any outdoor route that meets the required distance and elevation gain. His next virtual doubles are the Southern Inyo Moonlight Double, and the Carmel Valley Double. Which should put him in good form for “the toughest 48 hours in sport,” the Silver State 508 Race: 508.8 miles, 22,574 feet of climbing and covering Reno to Eureka and back within 48 hours.
“Cycling to me is therapeutic. I relax my mind. During the day, I enjoy the outdoor scenery. During the night, I enjoy the night sky and the tranquility. From time to time, I also think about technical work problems on my ride.”
Welcome New Staff at CAT: Elizabeth Goodhue/in Pedagogy, Staff Highlights /by michelle chen
The Center for the Advancement of Teaching recently hired Elizabeth Goodhue as the new Associate Director of Faculty Engagement.
Position: Associate Director of Faculty Engagement
Prior to working for CAT: She worked for eight years in the Center for Community Learning helping faculty and graduate students develop community-engaged courses and directing the center’s academic internship program.
Education: Elizabeth got her Ph.D. in English here at UCLA, after studying at the University of Arizona for her Undergraduate education. She is originally from Tucson, AZ.
Best Part of New Job: Continuing to work with faculty and graduate students while helping CAT to imagine and realize our role campus wide. There are many contexts where this may be addressed but Beth is especially excited about developing and supporting faculty-led learning communities and opportunities to support scholarship on teaching and learning. This fall, she has been working with CAT’s Learning Spaces, Design and Maintenance (LSDM) team to gather feedback on how instructors are utilizing the flexible learning spaces they have designed. The plan is to host lunches in the new year to learn from these instructors about what features they still need help using and to support both current and prospective users who want to integrate more active learning into their courses.
Most Challenging Aspect of New Position: “Balancing the diverse needs of our campus-wide initiatives as well as the focused partnerships CAT is developing.”
Passions and Hobbies: Elizabeth is a new mom to her 7-month-old son, Alejandro! She also enjoys yoga, and walks and hikes with her dog Shelly, as well as cooking and baking delicious things.
Proudest Accomplishments: Elizabeth is immensely proud of launching a 495 course on community engaged pedagogy four years ago, which was the first pedagogy course in UCLA’s new Graduate Student Professional Development subject area. She is also very proud of her publishing about pedagogy, as well as being a new mom, and being able to simultaneously transition into both of these new and important roles at home at CAT.
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